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50                                  LIFE   OF
up the collected specimens, they commenced th
retreat on the 22nd of September, 'over daii^'aro
precipices., and through thick forests and furus: on the
way, they for the first time became ae<]uaintod with
the monkeys inhabiting thiw region, who ii(,Uğr a
melancholy and discordant cry. Mumboldt remarked
here, that the monkeys seem the more do pressed a. ml
melancholy the nearer they resemble in on; that with
the increase of their apparent reasoning1 faculties, theit^
impetuous sprightliness diminishes in equal propor-
The travellers next arrived at the town of Oariaco,
where the unhealthy local influences had produced a
malignant fever ; they therefore embarked speedily, to
reach Oumana, a distance of twelve miJosby nua; and
during the voyage, Humboldt continued his stvudiew of
the tribes of the Indians he had hitherto mot, and of
their language. His second residence at Outxiaua was
more eventful than the former one; for ho narrowly
escaped falling a victim to an attempt at assassination.
The attack was made on. the two naturalists by a
Zambo—i.e.3 a cross between, a negro and an luclian,
as they were, according to their wont., walking along;
the shores of the gulf, on the evening of the 27th of
October, 1799. The Zambo did not hit HumbolcU,
who avoided the blow, with his heavy Htick, but a
second blow, which hit Bonpland on the tempi OH,
felled him to the groimtL With Huiuboldt'B aHHi8l>
ance, he was, however, enabled to rise; and tho two
unarmed friends were preparing to moot tho attack,
which the JZambo continued with a largo knife, whoa,
fortunately, some Biscayaa merchants came to their
assistance,, and the fugitive adversary waa catigLt, imd
lodged in prison. Bonpland was tho whole night ma*
feverish state., and Ms condition at first excited great
anxiety, but the unfavourable symptoms gradtially
disappeared, and he recovered after sovoral clays*
But this accident did not deter Humboldt from the
observation of the eclipse of the sun, which took place
at this time, and his attention^was soon directed to